The District of Eastern North America (DENA) brought the Lasallian family closer together through its recent visit to twinned ministries in Kenya. This summer’s Come and See was a follow up to the 2014 Twinning Summit, the District’s original two-week program aimed to strengthen twinning relationships.
The twinning program pairs schools in the Lasallian Region of North America (RELAN) with ministries in the Lwanga District of Africa. Now in its 21st year, the twinning program brings Lasallians together in solidarity and encourages students to form relationships, while RELAN students fundraise to support their twin school.
The purpose of DENA’s Come and See was to deepen association for the Lasallian mission by personally connecting. During the July visit to Kenya, the DENA representatives, were immersed in the culture and spirituality of the ministries and Lasallians. The group visited Rongai Agricultural and Technical Secondary School in Rongai, St. Mary’s Secondary School in Nyeri, Mwangaza College and Child Discovery Center in Nakuru and Christ the Teacher Institute in Nairobi, which are all twinned ministries. Additionally, they visited the two newest ministries, St. La Salle School in Karemano and La Salle Catholic Primary School in Nairobi.
During these visits, the DENA Lasallians had the opportunity to interact with students and teachers, and get to know more about their lives, their cultures and the impact of the Lasallian mission.
During the group’s visit to Mwangaza College, student Peninah, age 18, shared, “We are all so grateful for the assistance we receive through the Twinning Program so that we might continue and complete our studies. Such generosity from people we have never met fills us with great hope and gives us the determination to reach for our goals.”
The group also met with Brother Ghebreysus Habte, FSC, Lwanga District Visitor, who spoke enthusiastically about the deepening relationship between the ministries in Lwanga and RELAN. The trip also included visits to the Novitiate, the Maryknoll Institute of African Studies, and several Kenyan national monuments including a safari opportunity in Nakuru National Park.
Maryanna Donohue-Lynch, associate executive director for DENA’s office for mission and ministry, serves as the District’s twinning coordinator. She, along with Brother Dennis Lee, FSC, organized the 2014 Twinning Summit held in Kenya. In the two years between visits, she said DENA has been actively continuing to build momentum and excitement around twinning relationships. One of DENA’s directional statements encourages the District to continue to cultivate international relationships such as twinning.
“It was a privilege to return to Kenya and to witness the remarkable progress that has occurred over the past two years in regards to the Kenyan Lasallian mission,” said Donohue-Lynch. “The developing relationships between our DENA schools and their ‘twin schools’ has deepened the mutual understanding of what it means to be a part of our global Lasallian family. Education is key in the transformation of an individual and a society. As the ‘landscape’ of Kenya develops at such a rapid rate, it is of great importance that young people who are poor have access to an education that will provide realistic opportunities for their future. This is the great hope that a Lasallian education provides the youth of Kenya who are fortunate recipients.”
DENA works in collaboration with the rest of the Districts in RELAN and Christian Brothers Conference to provide resources for RELAN and Lwanga ministries each year in order to deepen the connection twinned ministries share. New resources will be available at the start of the 2016-2017 academic year on the Christian Brothers Conference website. Christian Brothers Conference coordinates the twinning program, facilitates communication between twin schools, and serves as a resource center.